Well, I'm back in the saddle after a week off and it feels as if I had never left. Truth be told, I never did leave the area, and even frequented some of my favorite local haunts, so I suppose that's why it feels this way. Next time I gotta at least get out of Monterey County! Does Santa Cruz count?
Well, time keeps marching on, as they say, and the local music venues keep booking musical acts...go figure.
But before I get into tha,t a few housekeeping items and a few upcoming concerts to talk about.
For the first time in ages, Kiki Wow doesn't have any shows Friday and Saturday nights as she transitions to the new Carmel Valley location for Plaza Linda Mexican restaurant (in the former Volcano Grill location in the Village).
She does, however, have a Father's Day show set for Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the Carmel Valley Community Park featuring the Interchangeables and the Dino Vera Band.
It's all free and part of the Young Artists "Music in the Park" 2012 series. Plaza Linda will also have food for purchase if you don't want to bring your own picnic.
The Jenny Lewis show Friday night at the Henry Miller Memorial Library is sold out, but there are still tickets left for Lucinda Williams on Friday, June 29, at the library.
And the library and its primary presenting organization, FolkYEAH!, has just announced a major concert for Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the library: The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne's critically accalaimed theatrical, eccentric and psychedelic rock band.
Tickets go on sale Thursday at noon at folkyeah.com. All tickets are will call and will not be sold over the phone.
Tickets are available at folkyeah.com for the library benefit June 25 at The Warfield in San Francisco featuring Joanna Newsom and Philip Glass (with Tim Fain.
And since we are getting close to the official opening of summer (or was that Memorial Day?) next Thursday, start gearing up for those outdoor concerts and festivals. A big one looms June 22-24 with the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, followed by the Nacarubi Festival, June 29-July 1.
Info on the former is at www.montereyblues.com and the latter, well, if you know someone ask them, because this is more of a word-of-mouth-type festival in the wilds east of Big Sur. You know who you are.
On a smaller scale, the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa hosts the "BBQ, Blues & Brews" event from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Dolphins Fountain Plaza at the Cannery Row hotel.
It features beers from English Ales, a barbecue menu and the Lara Price Blues Band. It's all free, well, except for the beer and barbecue.
Some shows of interest:
· Jazz guitar ace Bruce Forman is back in town, and boy is he keeping busy. He plays at Rancho Cielo Friday night; at the Cypress Inn on Saturday night and again on Sunday at the Big Sur River Inn, all with acclaimed pianist Dick Whittington in various configurations.
Former Valley resident Forman also has a new album out with his trio, "Formanism," which features bassist Gabe Neal and drummer Jake Reed.
· Monterey power pop/New Wave band Jet, which has a 30-year history in the area and at one time was considered the first local rock band that would break big, returns to The Alternative Cafe Thursday night, this time with a special guest in original member Dale Kurokawa.
Guitarist/keyboardist Kurokawa was a co-founder of the band, which he left to form The Medflys in the early '80s. He now lives in Idaho, but occasionally will come back to the area to visit family.
Current members of Jet are David Lewis, Chuck Watson, Alex Stewart and Stewart's 16-year-old son, Simon Stewart.
Showtime is 8 p.m., with the Mike PZ Trio opening. Tickets are $8 for this all-ages show.
And make sure you check out the show Saturday night at The Alt, rough and ragged Bay Area rock band The Ferocious Few.
And speaking of names from the past, local blues-rock band The Roadhouse Band has added a new drummer, Jack Hammer (aka James Holland), and will play Tuesday night (and Tuesday, June 26) at Sly McFly's.
Local rock fans may recognize Hammer from his stints with Santa Cruz bands The Secret and The Batteries, as well as Monterey bands The Mudskippers, Blind Curve and Stun Gun Jones. He was also a founding member of the one-hit Sacramento band Steel Breeze, but had not played in a band for the past three years when asked by Roadhouse to join them. Welcome back!
The Running Iron in Carmel Valley is starting to book more and more live bands for the summer run. Case in point, Friday night's two-band lineup features L.A.-based country-rock band CB Brand, which has been described as the "Loch Ness Monster of country outfits" and features Big Sur denizen Mike Scutari on drums.
The 9 p.m. show will be opened by another L.A. band, Bell Gardens, whose music features Beach Boys-style pop harmonies and lush production unlike the rough-around-the-edges CB Brand. No cover, too!GO!
Santa Cruz music of note:
The great New Orleans brass band, the Soul Rebels, plays Thursday night at Moe's Alley.
More New Orleans jazz and R&B whenThe California Honeydrops and Harry & The Hitmen play Moe's Alley on Saturday night.
A Latin dance band from Chile led by Chico Trujillo plays Wednesday night at Moe's Alley.
Reggae artist J Boog plays Tuesday night at The Catalyst.
Jazz guitarist Mimi Fox pays tribute to the great Wes Montgomery Thursday night at Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
Acclaimed jazz bassist Christian McBride plays with his trio Monday night at Monday at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
The Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash plays — what else? — Johnny Cash Sunday night at Don Quixote's in Felton.
Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers plays Monday night at Don Quixote's in Felton.
Steve Young & Jubal Lee Young play Tuesday night at Don Quixote's in Felton.
Singer-songwriter Darrell Scott play Friday night at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in a Snazzy Productions show.